Skip to Main Content

Taking Inventory: Turtle Shell

Get outta here, turtles! Scute!

In 1877, French novelist Victor Hugo wrote: “No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” Well actually he wrote it in French, but that’s a rough translation. Oh, and he was talking about Louis-Napoleon’s coup d’état of 1851. But you know what? It’s also true about turtles!

When our developers were putting together the Update Aquatic, they knew there was one idea whose time, indeed, had come. It was the brainchild of Reddit user billyK_.

In March 2015 he posted a suggestion for an alternative to boats on the Minecraft subreddit. His solution was turtles.

“For the past 2.5 years, I've pushed gently for turtles to be added,” he wrote earlier this year. “With Update Aquatic happening with no mention of turtles, I pushed a tiny bit harder.” Sure enough, turtles were added soon afterwards. Not only did his idea make him legendary within the Minecraft Reddit community, but it also won him a unique cape. “Many people can suggest Minecraft features, but few become walking Reddit legends,” said Jens Bergensten, Mojang’s Chief Creative Officer no less!

Turtle shells are a wearable item that let players breathe a little longer underwater. Wearing a turtle shell in a helmet slot, while out of water or in a column of bubbles, will give the player a “water breathing” status effect, which only starts counting down when the player submerges. I guess the extra air is stored in the top of the shell somewhere, but who knows how those turtles weave their bubbly magic?

Turtle shells also give the player two armour points, which is the same amount provided by iron, gold and chain helmets – and a little less than diamond. Aside from the free water breathing, the other big benefit of a turtle shell over a regular iron helmet is durability – a turtle shell will take almost twice as many hits before breaking.

Oh, and the final thing you can do with turtle shells is to use them as brewing ingredients. Mixing a turtle shell with an awkward potion in a brewing stand will get you a Potion of the Turtle Master, which gives you a Resistance III status effect, but also Slowness IV. Never fear, though – slow and steady wins the race.

You’re probably wondering how you get one of these magical turtle shells, and your first impulse might be to kill some turtles. DON’T DO IT! Not only are many turtle species endangered, but turtles don’t actually drop turtle shells when they die. Instead, you need to piece together your own turtle shell from the bits of shell – called scutes – that are dropped when a baby turtle grows up into an adult turtle. You can also use those scutes to repair a bashed-up old helmet.

So where do you get baby turtles from? Well, there’s a chance you might find one on a beach, but it’s much easier to breed your own by feeding two turtles seagrass and letting nature take its course. Soon enough, you’ll be looking at a cluster of turtle eggs, which you’ll need to keep safe until they hatch. If they’re broken – by hitting them with a tool, standing on them, letting blocks fall onto them, or allowing hostile mobs to get nearby – then they’ll be destroyed without dropping anything. Keep those babies safe!

If you’re reading this and thinking that you have some great ideas that would make Minecraft better, then here's some good advice from billyK_

“If there's anything to learn from this, it's that if you have a really good idea that the community gets behind, it could one day be in the game,” he wrote. “Just honestly keep expectations in check and don't bug the devs on it. That's like a death sentence for your idea.”

He’s not wrong! But bonus takeaway here: don’t hurt turtles!

Duncan Geere
Written By
Duncan Geere

Community Creations

Discover the best add-ons, mods, and more being built by the incredible Minecraft community!